Massive boost for India, says Advani

Massive boost for India, says Advani

Snooker Indian Open: BSFI chief Capt Mohan happy with preparations

Massive boost for India, says Advani

Preparations have hit top gear as the Billiards and Snooker Federation of India gets ready to host the Indian Open -- the country’s first pro-ranking snooker event -- in New Delhi from October 14-18.

Officials from World Snooker have already done a recce at the Le Meridian hotel -- the venue for the marquee bash -- and have expressed their satisfaction. The officials from the governing body will be back in New Delhi this week again to do another round of inspection.

“Everything is falling brilliantly in place,” said Capt PV Mohan, the BSFI president, during a press conference here at the KSBA while unveiling the draw and playing schedule of the 300,000 pounds tournament. “I just returned from the World 6-red Snooker Championship in Bangkok and there was great buzz around the event.

“People have expressed their desire to travel to India for this event. We’ve also got some good response from the sponsors. The Ministry of Tourism, Petronet, Bank of Baroda, State Bank of Hyderabad and ONGC have expressed their willingness to support the event. We’ve already signed a three-year deal with World Snooker and we believe it is the start of something huge.”

Mohan also said plans are afoot to take the event across India. “Everyone knows cue sports has massive following in places like Bangalore and Hyderabad. Since, we are starting off this year, we thought we’ll stage it in Delhi as we needed the support of the government. We will take the event to other cities as well. Moreover, World Snooker wants us to conduct more events in the future. But, that’s in the longer run and our focus now is to organise the current event smoothly and efficiently.”

Pankaj Advani, who will be leading the Indian charge along with fellow pro circuit cueist Aditya Mehta, said the event should mark the beginning of a new chapter for Indian snooker. “This is a massive boost for Indian snooker and I congratulate the BSFI for their splendid effort. For a change, it’s nice to be playing at home rather than away and make those guys feel like visitors!”

Advani kicks off his campaign against the seasoned Marcus Campbell and the 28-year-old said the revised flat structure of the event makes it extremely competitive. “First of all, in most events all the players -- from No 1 to No 128 -- start from the scratch. There are no byes and is generally best of 7 or 9 contest. One mistake and your are out and that gives everybody a chance.”

“Definitely, there will be pressure on me and Aditya to do well. Both of us have got tough games but we will be looking to make the most of the home advantage. We are completely geared up for it.”